Hello everyone, and welcome back to another posting! This month, I wanted to take some time to share with you all just a smidge of what I experienced at this year's Pagan Spirit Gathering. Honestly, I would need about twenty generalized categories to even come close to tapping on all the fun I had and knowledge gained, so it's a good thing I'm pretty narrowed down here.
One of the nice things about PSG, in comparison to other Pagan festivals I've attended, is the community love and support for our Warriors. At PSG, there are many areas dedicated for people to commune together, combining that reverence and mirth notion depending on the need. One of the areas, just past the entrance gate, is the Warriors Center. Each morning, active duty and retired military personnel gathered to meet with one another, with last Thursday morning being a special gathering: The Warrior Blessing Ritual.
I'm going to be completely honest here - I've been Pagan for nearly two decades, and I've never had that "peak moment" during rituals, in groups or alone, so many gleefully share. I joke it's because I'm like M&Ms with the hard candy shell but with the sweet center. I've never even been moved before during a ritual, at least not fully. Sure, there's been parts of rituals I've thoroughly enjoyed, and there have been many, many times where my spellcasting worked - sometimes a little too well. (Kind of like the time I really wanted to have a summer off, and I broke my ankle at work just before Memorial Day and collected workman's comp until the cast came off just past Labor Day. Fun times! Oh yes that was! Uh huh.). But this ritual, all I can say is WOW! There wasn't a dry eye in the house, and when I say I was moved, I'm talking that scene in Old Yeller.
I posted quite a few pictures this morning over at Pagan Newswire Collective, which you can see that article by clicking here. But what I would like to share here is the one on one time I got with many of the Warriors themselves - their stories and back stories.
One of the folks who led the ritual had served for 29 years, much longer than even required in order to retire with full benefits. Out of curiosity, I had asked him not so much why he served so long, but how he was able to do what he did while also honoring his beliefs. The simple answer I got was he separated the two to the best of his ability. Many of us separate our jobs from our home lives, as very few of us work where we live and vice versa. For me as a civilian, keeping a military career separate from my daily living seems like a daunting task to say the least. However, I can see how it might make things easier to compartmentalize, especially when the vocal majority in charge have been bad about being tolerant of anything other than evangelical Christianity during his service and even today....